Those enjoying a Mediterranean diet got it right – lots of fish, wine, vegetables and olives. Makes me hungry just thinking about it. If you take the time to prepare meals with these ingredients you will be going a long way to ensuring your health, and your culinary enjoyment in the process. Here are some of the recent scientific findings about olives, and a few nice suggestions for adding them to your diet.
I read an interesting article from the “You Doctors” – Dr.’s Oz and Roizen, describing some of the youth promoting and general well being enhancing properties of this amazing fruit. The monounsaturated fat and phytonutrients contained in olives are not only cardio-protective, immune enhancing and arthritis inhibitive, they can also help prevent wrinkles and enhance your sex life. The doctors also point out that researchers have recently found out that a component of olives called oleocanthal may be helpful in the battle with Alzheimer’s disease. This substance increases production of proteins and enzymes that can knock out amyloid tangles, which is a hallmark of the disease.
Other findings that help to explain the cardiovascular protective effects of olives and olive oil revolve around it’s constituents oleuropein and the oleanic acids. Researchers have shown how these ingredients can facilitate endothelial health and benefit hypertension – lowering blood pressure as efficiently as many administered drugs. (see “studies” page above) I suspect that other disease fighting benefits will surface in the lab as time goes on.
One other well known benefit of the olives and olive oil is the way it can be used as a substitute for butter. When cooking in the pan, and of course in salads and other foods olive oil is so tasty and also convenient – another critical factor in my home. We particularly like it in conjunction with mushrooms, peppers and onions. Here’s an earlier post on that. Opium – Your Key to Great Health
When purchasing olive oil always look for “extra-virgin, cold pressed. This type is undenatured and will deliver more punch and benefit. It’s worth paying a bit more for the good stuff – it tastes better too. And try to cook under the lowest temperature possible. This is a healthy practice in all cases. Bon – appetit!